Monks Disrupt Media Tour in China

April 10, 2008


Source: The New York Times

China suffered another unexpected public relations setback on Wednesday when Buddhist monks interrupted a government-managed news media tour in western China by waving a Tibetan flag and protesting that the authorities were depriving them of their human rights.

The disruption, in Xiahe, a city in Gansu Province, was the second in which monks had upstaged government efforts to control tours of Tibetan areas for foreign journalists.

Last month, several monks in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, risked official punishment when they made an emotional appeal to foreign journalists inside the Jokhang Monastery, one of the city’s holiest shrines.

The outburst on Wednesday occurred as authorities guided reporters through the Labrang Monastery. The tour was the first officially approved visit to Xiahe by foreign reporters since monks and other Tibetans in the city clashed with the police last month. During the tour, about 15 monks rushed out, waving a Tibetan flag, and approached a group of about 20 Chinese and foreign reporters.